Tahar Ben Jelloun
by Mélanie from France
Tahar Ben Jelloun is a Moroccan writer, devoted to his country's culture. In order to clarify, we should say he is first of all a story-teller. He was born in Fes in 1944, and studied philosophy and letters in Rabar. In 1966 he was sent to a disciplinary camp because of the student demonstrations in which he was suspected of participating. He became a teacher in a French school in Morocco in 1968. Nowadays he writes some articles for newspapers in Spain, France and Italy. He takes part in conferences in Universities because of his work on social phenomena, more precisely about North Africa immigrant's way of life and racism.
I can't help thinking that his books are a way for some people to become open-minded to the Moroccan culture or something else. For example the very famous "Racism explained to my daughter", translate in 25 languages. Instead of being just a simple novel, according to the writer, which Ben Jelloun didn't want to publish, it became a world success. I think we really can't rely on his books to open the future generation to literature.
Before being a writer, he is a story-teller and some of his books are written like a story that someone could read for a public. The punctuation and the construction of the sentences can surprise the reader. More than novels, they are poetry which I particularly appreciate because of the melody and the way he produces Moroccan city atmosphere. Moreover I'm fascinated by him as he has put his own security at stake to be a free writer, or decided to leave his homeland because he wanted to teach philosophy in Morocco in the Arabic language instead of in French.
If we take stock of his biography, we become aware of his increasing impact in the literature circle. From one of his first book "Harrouda" to the more recent "Amours Sorcières", his book have marked the minds. He received the Goncourt prize in 1997 for "La nuit Sacrée". The particular feature of Tahar Ben Jelloun is that he writes about the difficult and real life in Morocco with a delightful style in order to, maybe, change this reality, like every writer who falls in love with his country. We can easy be taken along this fairy tale which is not one.
Finally, what strikes me the most with this writer is that you are under the impression that you are in a little street in Tangier, conscious of social problems, inhabitants' moods and Morocco's colors and culture whereas you are just at home.
Page created on 4/12/2007 12:00:00 AM
Last edited 4/12/2007 12:00:00 AM
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